After waiting for rain all summer in Clara, we are crying out for a few dry days now to finish off the grazing season and get the last few heavy covers cleaned off before the winter.

The days have been constantly wet for the last few weeks, which is making even the driest fields a struggle to get into with the reducing numbers of cows that are left milking this week.

We only have two more paddocks that are too heavy to over-winter, so hopefully we can get to them this week and then the cows can finish off the rest of the season on concrete.

We are milking once a day for the last few days, which is taking a lot of pressure off and making the afternoons a bit more relaxed.

We have over half of the cows dried off now and more leaving the milking herd everyday for their annual rest as we edge ever closer to their next calving date next spring.

We are quickly moving over to days of cubicle scraping and silage feeding, rather than grass allocations and milking, which is fine as the evenings close in and we wind down towards Christmas.

Most of those jobs can be done quickly enough every morning and hopefully we can find enough hours over the next few weeks to get everything organised for calving and calves in January.

We have a few changes to make to some sheds and a few areas to tidy up before we get busy again.

The solar panels look like the best option for smaller farm projects rather than wind or anaerobic digestion

With new grants and tax incentives available for solar panels on sheds, we will also try to find time to study all of the options available for the sheds in the yard over the quieter winter months. It’s very similar to adding clover to all of the grass swards on the farm, making us a bit less reliant on purchased nitrogen, the solar panels would make us less reliant on purchased energy.

The solar panels look like the best option for smaller farm projects rather than wind or anaerobic digestion options and the new 60% TAMS grant looks very attractive, even if surplus electricity has to exported for free. The grant includes funding for batteries so we will have to look at the most suitable size of project that best matches our energy needs.

We will then possibly look at matching the rest of the energy demands on the farm to that project to capture as much of the energy produced as possible.

Electric vehicle

Maybe an electric vehicle could be part of the plan, or even an electric quad bike. We will have to keep an open mind on all options as we move into a new era for farm sustainability.

Hopefully we get some credit for some of these investments on farm, instead of always getting the blame for the environmental problems in the country.

Listening to some of the environmental commentators talking about biodiversity loss and water quality issues, you’d be made to believe that farming is all bad with nothing positive to contribute to the equation.

Rewilding the country back to where we were 400 years ago is fine in theory if we also reduce the world’s population back to the same time period.

We will improve everywhere possible, but we can’t expect to feed eight billion people with the same impact on nature from a time when we only had to feed 500 million.